Keeping It Green at Oakton

Your source for the most current sustainability news from Oakton Community College

A Partnership in Preservation

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A recent Saturday morning began with birdsong, a cloudy sky, and a buzz of excitement at Oakton’s Des Plaines campus as a group of individuals gathered as part of an ecological field site visit organized by the Forest Preserves of Cook County.  Attendees included staff from the two organizations, stewards of regional restoration sites, and site volunteers who joined together in an effort to learn more about the partnership between the FPCC and Oakton Community College.

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For over 25 years, Oakton and the FPCC have been working closely with each other to understand, manage, and restore the natural areas within this 250 some acre plot along the Des Plaines River. It is near impossible to determine where Oakton land starts and Forest Preserve land begins, the only indicators being scattered stone markers along the borders. And that’s probably the way it should be. The lack of constructed barriers and fences allow the land to flow naturally from ecosystem to ecosystem, which include woodlands, prairies, and ephemeral ponds. FPCC purchased the land which is now Kloempken Prairie in the mid 40’s while Oakton’s land was purchased from the Catholic Church three decades later (though much of the area had been used for local agriculture as evidenced by the multiple drainage ditches).

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Tree Conservation Research Aide – Part-time (Lisle)

Position Summary:

Assist with compiling data on threatened oak trees for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, which is an authoritative global assessment of the conservation status of plant and animal species.  Work with Tree Conservation Specialist to prioritize oaks for assessment and synthesize research.  Funding for this position is temporary with an expected duration of 12 months, with a potential for extension.

Essential Functions:

  • Assist with gathering data on oak species from a multitude of sources to contribute to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • Enter data on oak species into the IUCN Species Information Service database and edit existing data.
  • Provide support to the Tree Conservation Specialist with regard to The Morton Arboretum’s role in leading oak research and conservation efforts.
  • Other duties as assigned.

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#Oakemon: Discovering Nature on Oakton’s Campuses through New Eyes

Things tend to slow down here during the summer–but this week, you wouldn’t know it by taking a look outside. Swarms of folks are walking through campus on this sunny day, hanging out by the lake, walking along the forest preserve’s edge, observing the wetland, and gathering around the many outdoor sculpture pieces. Why you ask? Perhaps it has something to do with the 15 Pokéstops on our Des Plaines campus or the two gyms (which are currently held by yellow and red…but have seen some fluctuation).  Pokémon Hunters who have downloaded Pokémon Go have plenty of opportunities to explore, capture, and refuel while on campus (in between classes of course). You’ll find your fair share of common urban Pokémon like Pidgey and Rattata and discover Horsea and Magikarp down by the water but with our 147 acres and natural landscape you have an increased chance of discovering some rarer individuals too. Find them in the woods, in our prairie restoration sites, and gardens.  I haven’t yet made it out to our Skokie campus–but I would be surprised if there weren’t a few Pokéstops there as well given the more urban setting.

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So why would Oakton’s Green Committee  devote time and energy to sharing the details of Pokémon Go? Because a big part of being green is getting out and experiencing nature. It involves appreciating the diversity of plants and animals that abound, the variety of ecosystems and environments that are able to provide shelter to wildlife, the trees that generate the air we breathe. Our staff naturalist, grounds crew, facilities, and sustainability staff together with our students in courses like Environmental Science and those in Ecology Club, spend time all year restoring, preserving, and enhancing these beautiful spaces. Continue reading


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NEW Environmental Studies Concentration at Oakton

Oakton Community College is excited to announce our NEW Environmental Studies Concentration. Registration for Fall 2016 is now open!

Join us Wednesday, April 20th in room 1604 of the Des Plaines Campus to hear more about this exciting opportunity!

The Environmental Studies Concentration is a nineteen (19) semester hour concentration designed to provide an interdisciplinary framework that promotes understanding of humanity’s impact on the natural environment and how the natural environment impacts human development; a critical appreciation of the importance of sustainability; and the central importance of integrating the work of the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities for a holistic and meaningful understanding of any environmental issue or problem.

The disciplinary approaches of the natural and social sciences, as well as the humanities are all essential to a full appreciation of the relationships between human systems and natural systems and any attempt to think critically and productively about how we can best meet our current environmental challenges.

The Environmental Studies Concentration prepares students for transfer into a variety of majors dealing with the environment, such as sustainability; environmental philosophy, law, and policy; environmental art and literature; environmental engineering and chemistry; conservation biology and natural resource management; and environmental journalism.

Most courses in the concentration meet the general education requirements and have IAI transfer codes. However, students should consult with the Environmental Studies Coordinator to ensure that they are taking the necessary courses in each general education area and are not taking more than one course with the same IAI number.

Students meeting the requirements for the Environmental Studies Concentration will have a notation added to their transcript indicating successful completion. In order to receive this designation, students must complete an Environmental Studies Concentration Completion form and meet with the Environmental Studies Coordinator.

Required Courses:

  • BIO106: Introduction to Environmental Science (4 credits)
  • PHL204: Environmental Ethics (3 credits)

 Of the remaining 12 credits:

  • at least three must come from a social science course with an ESC designation
  • at least three must come from a humanities course with an ESC designation (other than PHL204)
  • at least three must come from a natural or physical science course (other than BIO 106).
  • The last 3 credits can come from any class with an ESC designation.

To check available courses for Fall 2016, click here, select the term and then “Environmental Studies Concentration” in the Category section.

 

For more information, contact ESC co-coordinators, Paul Gulezian, Assistant Professor of Biology, and Marian Staats, Professor of English, at pgulezia@oakton.edu and mstaats@oakton.edu.

 


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Earth Week at Oakton Community College! 4/18-4/23

Every year, Oakton Community College prepares a week of hands-on programming to educate and engage our communities on issues related to the environment during the week of Earth Day. This year, we are happy to offer another mix of workshops, lectures, hands-on exploration, and restoration events and we welcome you to join us. All events are free and open to the public. No registration is required. Please share with your friends and families!

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Alternative Spring Break: Cook County Forest Preserve

The Forest Preserves of Cook County would like to invite your students to join us for a unique volunteer opportunity: Alternative Spring Break- Land Management Crew Volunteer. Please help us spread the word.

 Alternative Spring Break

Dates: Choose a week from March 7 to March 28th

Description: Spend your spring break in the Forest Preserves of Cook County (FPCC) working alongside our Land Management Crews. Learn about how the FPCC manages natural resources on our holdings, the tools used to do the job and ways we are adapting to environmental changes in a highly urbanized environment. Typical work days include invasive species removal, brush pile burning, tree care and removal, herbicide application and other general land management responsibilities.

Requirements/Duties (full list on job description): Typical work days include: invasive species removal, brush pile burning, tree care and removal, herbicide application, prescription burning and other general land management responsibilities. Continue reading


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Part-time Restoration Technician Position–Apply Now!

The Illinois chapter of The Nature Conservancy has a part time (16 hrs/week) Restoration Technician position open at our Indian Boundary Prairies Preserve in Markham, IL.  If you can take a moment to consider your contacts and networks and forward the information below to help us reach a wider audience, that would be much appreciated.

 

For details, visit The Nature Conservancy’s career page.  Note, to search for the specific posting number.

 

  1. Restoration Technician – Posting #43720

The Restoration Technician performs and participates in nature preserve operations, maintenance and management.

Must have:  High School diploma and six months related experience.

 

Please refer candidates to the career page .